Boyd Powers Clemson Offense Over UVa
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) - Kevin Parks thought Virginia was ready to give No. 9 Clemson all it could handle.
The Cavaliers did, too, for about 25 minutes, and then watched it all unravel in a flash.
-------- To see the box score CLICK HERE ----------
The Tigers scored 21 points in the last 4:18 of the first half, turning two turnovers into touchdowns and turning a 14-7 game into a 35-7 blowout. When they opened the second half with a 96-yard touchdown pass from Tajh Boyd to Sammy Watkins, making it 42-7, the 59-10 final score was merely a formality.
"I felt like we came out on fire and everything was clicking when we were tied 7-7," Parks said, "but we had a lot of three-and-outs and they forced the issue there."
Virginia (2-7, 0-5) lost its sixth in a row and for the 15th time in its last 19 games. It also suffered its second 59-10 home loss this season; No. 2 Oregon did that in the second week of the season.
Linebacker Henry Coley said the score wasn't the only similarity.
"They are really similar, almost exactly the same," he said of the Tigers and Ducks. "Oregon probably spreads you out a bit more than Clemson does. They hit you in the same kind of ways."
Boyd finished with three touchdown passes and ran for a score for the Tigers, turning his final game in his home state into a milestone-maker. The Hampton, Va., native became the Atlantic Coast Conference's career leader in touchdown-making with a 33-yard pass to Watkins to start the scoring. It broke a tie at 112 TDs with North Carolina State's Philip Rivers.
Boyd later added TD throws of 10 yards to Roderick McDowell and the long one to Watkins, and scored on a 1-yard run just before halftime.
Boyd finished 24 of 29 for 377 yards for the Tigers (8-1, 6-1 ACC). He's now been in on 116 career touchdowns, with 93 through the air and 23 running. Watkins caught eight passes for 169 yards and two TDs. It was his sixth game with at least 100 receiving yards this season.
The long touchdown came on a third-and-15 play for the Tigers on their opening series of the third quarter. Watkins ran past freshman Tim Harris, who has been pressed into duty by injuries that have sidelined defensive backs Demetrious Nicholson and Maurice Canady, and Boyd hit him in stride.
That made it 42-7 and sent fans streaming for the exits in earnest.
It also helped Boyd improve to 4-0 against teams from his home state. He's 3-0 against Virginia Tech.
The Tigers wasted little time asserting their dominance, taking the opening kickoff and driving 75 yards in six plays and just 1:27 off the clock. Boyd hit Watkins three times, the last for 33 yards.
Virginia pulled even after an exchange of punts, Watford running it in from the 6 to cap a 54-yard drive, but the Tigers responded immediately with another 6-play, 75-yard march to C.J. Davidson's 2-yard run. Boyd hit Roderick McDowell for 27 yards and Martavius Bryant for 37 yards on consecutive plays.
Anthony Harris' sixth interception of the season ended a Tigers drive deep in Virginia territory, and Clemson punted twice and was stopped on fourth down on its next three possessions, but the Cavaliers could do nothing offensively.
Boyd's screen pass to McDowell made it 21-7, and when Kearse stripped the ball from Khalek Shepherd on the ensuing series, DeShawn Williams recovered at midfield. Five plays later, McDowell ran into the line on third-and-1, broke quickly into the clear and went 25 yards for a touchdown that made it 28-7.
Boyd followed another three-and-out for Virginia by carving the defense up in a crisp eight-play, 86-yard drive. He was 6 for 6 on the drive for 84 yards, then ran it the final yard 0:13 before halftime.
From UVa athletics:
Virginia Game Notes
Virginia has now lost six games in a row to fall to 2-7, 0-5 ACC. They are 0-2 against ranked teams.
Virginia trails Clemson 38-8-1 in the all-time series. Clemson is now 17-5 in Charlottesville.
Because of the ACC's unbalanced schedule, the two teams will not meet again until the 2020 season at Clemson.
Clemson QB Tajh Boyd's 96-yard touchdown pass completion to Sammy Watkins was the third-longest pass play by a Virginia opponent, trailing a 99-yard TD pass by South Carolina in 2003 and a 97-yard touchdown pass by Clemson in 1974.
Clemson's 610 yards were the seventh-most allowed by Virginia in a single game in program history
It was the first time Virginia allowed 600+ yards of total offense since allowing 627 against Georgia Tech in 2000
Clemson's 435 passing yards was the fourth most in a single game by a Virginia opponent. It was the first time Virginia allowed 400+ passing yards since the 2008 Gator Bowl when Texas Tech had 407.
Clemson's 34 completions tied for sixth-most by a Virginia opponent in a single game, matching Wake Forest in 1981 and BYU in 2000.
P Alec Vozenilek set a Virginia record with 522 punting yards, eclipsing the old mark of 464 set by Ryan Weigand vs. Wyoming in 2007.
SS Anthony Harris grabbed his sixth interception of the season in the first quarter. It was the third-straight game in which Harris had an interception. Harris came into the game in a four-way tie for the lead in the nation in interceptions.
Harris now has seven career interceptions and is tied for No. 4 all-time in the UVa record book.
TB Taquan Mizzell's 27-yard reception in the third quarter is the longest of his career.
WR Keeon Johnson had a career-high 77 receiving yards on a career-high five catches.
CB Tim Harris had a career-high seven tackles as well as a pass breakup.
DT David Dean tied a career high with seven tackles, including a sack.
With his 82 rushing yards, TB Kevin Parks moves into 14th place on the Cavalier career rushing list with 2139 yards, passing Nikki Fisher (1988-91) and Kevin Brooks (1992-95).
TE Jake McGee has had at least one reception in each of the last 11 games. McGee had two catches for 12 yards.
QB David Watford was 16-of-35 for 130 yards with one interception.
QB Greyson Lambert was 3-for-11 for 33 yards with an interception.
OLB Henry Coley had his third game of the year with double-digit tackles, leading UVa with 11 including a tackle-for-loss.
Clemson Team Notes
*Clemson won today's game by a 59-10 score. It was the largest margin of victory for the Tigers in an ACC road game since a 55-0 win at Virginia in 1984. It was the second time this year Clemson had won by 49 points, the other was a 56-7 win over Wake Forest at Clemson. It tied for the fourth largest victory margin anywhere for the Tigers in an ACC game.
*Clemson's 59 points scored were the most by the Tigers this year and the most since Clemson scored 62 last year in a 62-48 win over NC State at Clemson. The 59 points scored were the most points scored by the Tigers on an opponent's home field since the Tigers won at South Carolina 63-17 in 2003.
*'With this win, Clemson is now 8-1 for the third straight year.
*This is the second straight week Clemson has scored at least 40 points and gained at least 500 yards in total offense. Clemson also did it last year against Wake Forest and Duke.
*Clemson's defense forced 10 three-and-outs today, giving the defense 19 over the last two games.
*Clemson finishes its ACC road record with a 4-0 mark, the first time Clemson has gone 4-0 on the road in the ACC since 1995.
*Today's win should keep Clemson in the top 10 of both polls for the 11th straight week. That will be the longest streak in Clemson history. The 1981 team had a 10-week streak on the way to winning the National Championship.
*This was Clemson's eighth consecutive win away from the home, the longest streak since Clemson had a nine-game streak away from home from 1978-79.
*This was Clemson's 16th straight win over a non-ranked team by double digits. Only Alabama has a longer streak with 25 in a row.
*Tajh Boyd completed a 96-yard touchdown pass to Sammy Watkins on Clemson's first possession of the third period. It was the second longest play from scrimmage and the second longest pass play in Clemson history. The only one longer is a 97-yard pass from Mark Fellers to Craig Brantley against Virginia at Clemson in 1974. The pass today was the longest scrimmage play in Clemson history on the road. It was also the second play of at least 90 yards for Boyd and Watkins this year. The other was a 91-yard touchdown pass at Syracuse earlier this year.
Clemson Individual Notes
*Tajh Boyd made his 36th consecutive start today, one short of the Clemson record for a quarterback. When Clemson faces Georgia Tech on November 14, Boyd will tie Charlie Whitehurst's record of 37 in a row set between 2002-05.
*Today was Boyd's 29th win as Clemson starting quarterback, three short of Rodney Williams record of 32 for a career. But, Boyd tied the Clemson record for wins against ACC teams today with his 20th against a league opponent. He will have a chance to break that mark November 14 when Clemson plays host to Georgia Tech.
*Boyd became the ACC's career leader in touchdown responsibility when he threw a 33-yard touchdown pass to Sammy Watkins on Clemson's first possession and fifth play of the game. He now has 116 for his career, 93 passing and 23 rushing.
*Boyd completed his first nine passes of the game for 135 yards and a touchdown. He finished 24-29 for 377 yards and three touchdowns. He had passing efficiency of 219, his third over 200 this year and third best this year.
*Boyd had his 16th career 300-yard passing game today. He is second in ACC history with 16. Only Philip Rivers of NC State had more with 18 between 2000-03. Boyd now has 93 career touchdown passes, just two short of Rivers 95, the ACC record.
*Sammy Watkins became the third player in Clemson history to go over 200 receptions in a career today. He caught his 200th on a 33 yard touchdown reception from Tajh Boyd on Clemson's first drive of the game. Aaron Kelly had 232 between 2005-08 and DeAndre Hopkins had 206 between 2010-12.
*Watkins finished with eight catches for 169 yards on the day and two touchdowns. It was the third most yards in a game for Watkins in his career. He now needs just 111 receiving yards to break DeAndre Hopkins career record. Watkins now has six 100-yard yard receiving games this year and 13 for his career, an all-time Clemson record. The previous record was 12 by DeAndre Hopkins between 2010-12.
*Watkins caught his sixth and seventh touchdown passes of the year and now has 22 for his career. Today was the fifth time in the last six games that Watkins caught a touchdown pass. Ironically, the only game he has failed to catch one in that time was the Maryland game last week when he caught 14 passes, a Clemson single game record.
*Jayron Kearse had an interception and a caused fumble in the second period today. He is now tied for the team lead in interceptions with three for 62 yards. He leads the team in interception return yards. He has had an interception two weeks in a row.
*Rod McDowell led Clemson in rushing today with 70 yards on 12 attempts. He also caught his first career touchdown pass from Tajh Boyd. McDowell did not score a touchdown in Clemson's first seven games and now has four over the last two games.
*Tajh Boyd and Sammy Watkins are the only players nationally to connect on two pass plays of at least 90 yards this year. There were 12 90-yard pass plays at the FBS level entering today's play.
Mike London Quotes
"Obviously, Clemson is an excellent football team. Tajh Boyd is as-advertised, and Sammy Watkins as well. They took advantage of a lot of things that we couldn't capitalize on. Their defense is fast and athletic. They played well. We didn't play well enough or coach well enough. We've played a lot of good teams, and that's one of the better ones we've played.
On giving up three quick touchdowns in the second quarter:
"You can't have situations like that when you're playing such a dynamic team. They capitalized on those turnovers with quick scores. You almost have to play a perfect game in order to play with an excellent team like Clemson. I was proud of the guys in that first quarter, but toward the latter part of that second quarter, things started to unravel for us. They took advantage of a lot of things."
On performance of Tim Harris and the pass defense:
"Obviously, he's dejected. You're out there on display and everyone sees it when a guy gets behind you. But we've seen Sammy [Watkins] get behind a lot of people. The only thing you can do is keep coaching and teaching this young man that better days will come for him. He'll get better and stronger. He'll understand a lot of the concepts we're asking him to do. He has to keep his head up and have a short memory. You don't forget, but you have to get ready to play again."
On how Clemson stacks up against other teams Virginia faced:
"The thing that they have is an accomplished veteran quarterback. They have vertical threats in their passing game with Watkins and other guys. They threaten you with the read outside and the speed sweep plays. They do a lot of things that affect the way you play. You can't miss a tackle and you can't be a step too late or too slow because they exploit that."
On David Watford:
"You want the throws to be accurate enough so that you give yourself a chance. We'll watch the tape and have a better assessment on it tomorrow."
On team not capitalizing on early momentum:
"Those turnovers that happen and the scores in such a short amount of time was the thing that got us on our heels. Trying to adjust from that and get back from that was a hard thing to do."
On missing three top defenders due to injury:
"Injuries are a part of the game. Everybody has injuries on their teams, but when you have three players that are some of your best players, it is difficult. We have got to find a way to make things happen for ourselves."
On lack of passing game:
"They did a great job covering those guys up. They disrupted some of the timing of Tim [Smith] and Darius [Jennings] particularly. Whether they're playing press or bump, you need to get off that and give the quarterback a window to throw the ball. We weren't good enough today to make some of those catches and extend some drives."
On Keeon Johnson:
"Keeon has continued to get better not only as a blocker but as a receiver. One of the common denominators for guys who can catch the ball is hands. He's got big hands. He's a big man. He's got good vertical stretch and he can go horizontal. Again, he's another player whose best football in front of him. He's learning as we go along. We'll keep coaching him and teaching him, and he's another player who will be really good before he's done playing."
UVa Player Quotes
Junior Middle Line Backer Henry Coley
On Clemson's offense
"We just lost momentum, combined with guys not executing their responsibilities. They didn't really surprise us with anything we haven't already seen."
On comparing Oregon to Clemson
"They are really similar, almost exactly the same. Oregon probably spreads you out a bit more than Clemson does. They hit you in the same kind of ways, perimeters, perimeters, perimeters."
On moving forward
"We have no choice but to keep our confidence up. There are still three more games to play."
Sophomore Defensive Tackle David Dean
On keeping up with Clemson's offense
"They were starting to do the things that we saw and prepared for in our game plan. Early on, we had some good success keying in on their plays and stopping what they were doing."
On the 96-yard touchdown pass
"It's tough, but we have a motto saying 'You just have to forget it and move on.' We had to go out there the next drive and try and stop them again."
On building team momentum
"We definitely have to stop the big plays, that's really been hurting us. It's definitely tough having to go up against an offense on a shorter field."
Junior Safety Anthony Harris
On the first half emotions
"I felt like guys were on their assignments and playing well. I felt like the energy was on our side. The energy was intense, we felt like we could go down the field and capitalize and move the ball a little bit on offense."
On reacting to the final score
"They ran some good stuff out there, they ran some good schemes, but we also need to be more consistent. Guys were missing tackles, including myself, which led to two scores. Guys have to be more consistent with knowing our assignments and coverage."
On Boyd's play
"He is a good quarterback, he is experienced. He knows how to read coverage and knows where to go with the ball. He knows when to press different situations. We showed our hand a few times, which you can't do with a veteran quarterback, and he took advantage of that. We had him backed up, but we showed our blitz and he did a good job of checking out of it and making the right decision to go downfield."
Senior Running Back Kevin Parks
On the game
"I felt like we came on fire and everything was clicking when we were tied 7-7, but we had a lot of three-and-outs and they forced the issue there. We had the defense off the field a little too long. We always want to play defense with our offense, but we had too many three-and-outs and I think that was the difference tonight."
On what went wrong when Clemson pulled away
"We didn't make the most of our opportunities, whether it was making catches, making the right reads or anything like that."
On Clemson vs. UVa's other opponents
"They're a pretty good ball team. I think they pass the eye test. They were pretty big across the board, the whole team. They are a very good ACC team.
On the offense's struggles
"A lot of not being able to execute falls on my shoulders. Coach had a great plan, and after seeing what we were able to do last week, we came out ready to go. They disguised a lot of coverages and caught me making errant passes and forcing certain things I shouldn't have."
On the game being competitive early
"We thought it was a game all throughout halftime and going into halftime. Coming out of halftime knowing we would get the ball back, and even before halftime getting the ball back with a little time, we thought we could score and get the ball back after the half and score again to get back in the game."
More on the offense's struggles
"It is very frustrating. We didn't execute. My role as a leader on the team and as quarterback is too keep the team on the field no matter what I have to do- running or passing. I have to keep the team on the field and move the chains."
Freshman Wide Receiver Keeon Johnson
On his improvements this season
"I just try to set the tone at practice on Monday for the rest of the week. I try to tell myself that the opponent is the same as me and the put their cleats on the same way I do."
On his comfort level
"I am more comfortable now than my first appearance. I study a lot more. Coming from high school to college, that's one thing I have to do more to make sure that every play is right. I write out every play we practice at night to make sure I know them, kind of like homework."
On his catching ability
"It's something that I've worked on. I've always had pretty good hands, but in college you have to have even stronger hands, so that's something I've been working on and have been working on from camp until now."
Clemson Head Coach Dabo Swinney Quotes
"It was a great road win for us. I like how our guys showed up with great focus and energy and really had some clean execution tonight in all three phases. It was probably our cleanest game in a while as far as putting it all together. A big stat for me is the turnovers. When we win the turnover margin, we are a pretty hard team to beat. We had 21 points off of turnovers. We fixed some things from the red zone last week."
"There were huge contributions from a number of people offensively. Tajh Boyd had a tremendous performance. I thought he played very disciplined within the system tonight, and hopefully that is something he can continue to do throughout the stretch as we finish this up. Sammy Watkins was awesome. We had good contributions from our backs in the passing game in particular. Defensively, there were three turnovers forced by freshmen, so it was great seeing those young guys get out there and make some huge plays. Jayron [Kearse] was a big spark for us with the interception. We held them to ten points and 200-something yards and that is a tough chore. Our punting was tremendous. It is our eighth road win and I think it is the first time we have been undefeated on the road in the ACC in a long time. The guys deserve all the credit because they have gotten themselves ready and have found ways to win games. Again, this is the most complete game that we have had. This team will be judged based on how we finished, but we had a good start to November."
On Tajh Boyd:
"Fun is in the winning. We always have fun when we win. He had a great week of practice. He has practiced well. Last week was big for him to get that win, finish the game like he did, and have the kind of practice that he did. We limited him in practice on Monday and Tuesday, but he was very engaged, jumped right back in on Wednesday, and took it to the game field tonight. I loved his demeanor. He was excited about being back here in Virginia tonight. Those senior guys know the end is coming and I think they all have a great appreciation for what they have been able to accomplish here at Clemson University. They want to finish strong, so it was good to see him have that success tonight. I have no doubt he will continue to do whatever he can to finish strong."
On the long touchdown play:
"That was really good execution. We work on that every week and change up the scenarios. It was good seeing those guys drive down the field, take what is there, not force anything, and manage the sideline like we did. We had a great sense of urgency with every first down we got. It was good that we had those timeouts left and punching that in right then really gave us good momentum coming out of the half."
On playing substitutes:
"It was to give the other guys a chance to play. I believe in playing people. These guys practice hard, and they deserve to play. That game was not over, but I had all the confidence in the world in Cole Stoudt and Chad Kelly that they would be able to go in there and run the offense. I don't have to have number 10 in there to execute the system. We thought that touchdown was a good way for him to call it a night and finish, but again I have all the confidence in our guys to play and perform. It was a great opportunity for Cole and Chad."
On their freshmen:
"The three turnovers were all caused by the freshmen, so we have some great young talent that is just coming on for us. I am excited for those guys and the impact they have made and are going to make as we continue to develop them."
Clemson Player Quotes
Sophomore Defensive Tackle D.J. Reader
On the defensive unit confidence
"We feel really good. We have some great guys that all like working together and competing. We like to go out there and try to out-do each other. It has been great competition between all of us."
On facing the option next week
"We are ready for it. We play really good run defense and it is what we like doing. We have a lot of sacks, so I think it will be good for us."
Junior Wide Receiver Sammy Watkins
On QB Tajh Boyd's performance:
"Tajh controls the offense and that's what he has been doing. All the five years he has been here, that is what we expect out of him and he played a great game. He was doing the right things with check downs and finding the right people."
On the aggressive passing play calls:
"Our coaches have been leaving us on the edge and did a great job calling this game."
On a strong November finish to the season:
"That's what we plan on doing, keep finishing and staying healthy. With a bye week, we will get back to film, get healthy and get away from football for a week. We need to go out with a bang and have fun. This is what it is about here in November. You got to show everyone that you're a top ten team now and not just in September."
Freshman Safety Jayron Kearse
On the defensive success:
"We feel like we let ourselves down by letting them even get on the scoreboard. We came in thinking shutout and gave them a touchdown. We got it together and decided that they were not getting in the end zone anymore."
On his personal improvement his season:
"In my first game against NC State, I was not doing the things I needed to do, but now I'm understanding things more and they are putting me in the right spots to make plays and I am understanding the game more."
Senior Quarterback Tajh Boyd:
On playing in front of friends/family in Virginia:
"It was great to come down here and get a victory, that makes it 4-0 against my home state, which is sweet, but at the same time, we wanted to play the type of football that we are capable of playing, and that was the biggest thing. We have four games left, and we want to play our best football in November."
On the momentum created by the defense:
"The defense does a great job and puts us in situations with great field position to go out there and capitalize. Hats off to those guys. They have been performing outstandingly and it was great to see the offense get going today."
On his personal performance:
"It was fun, especially trying to peak towards the end of the season. It was good for the team, a confidence-builder for us. Our offensive line did an outstanding job today. We ran the ball really well and a lot of guys got a chance to play. We are going to need everybody in this last stretch of the season."
On a freshman CB covering WR Sammy Watkins:
"You have to know your personnel. They had a young guy matched up with him and when you have a guy like [Watkins] with space, he's going to have an opportunity to make plays. Sammy did an unbelievable job. You kind of just got to throw your arm up and he will have a chance to get the ball."
On having fun:
"I did, I did. That has been a big question of late. Every time I get a chance to hang with these guys, be on the field with the guys and talk to them is great. It is important to enjoy all of these moments"
On advice to Virginia QB David Watford:
"Keep leading. It's a tough time for him and their team, but at the same time, everything you experience in this life is a learning lesson. He has to take what he has this year and utilize it in the right way. And that's what I expressed to him. He's got to go out there and keep leading. I think they will have a tremendous team. They have a lot of young players right now. They've got to build around him."